Millions of Brits are risking their hearing by listening to music at a volume louder than a pneumatic drill, a study suggested yesterday.
Researchers found one in ten people regularly turn their radio up to a higher volume than a drill on a building site, with another one in six listening to their MP3 player at a level which is more deafening than an aeroplane taking off.
One in twenty regularly plug into their music which is more thunderous than a train hurtling past in a station, a car alarm ringing in your ears and even screaming kids.
But worryingly, 17 per cent have been left with ringing ears after listening to blaring music for a long period of time.
Yesterday Peter Worthington, director of The Hearing Company, which polled 2,000 Brits on their music listening habits to mark the start of National Deafness Week today (Mon 2nd May), said:
“These results prove that most Brits are blissfully unaware how a simple everyday pleasure of listening to music can actually be harmful to their hearing.
“Damage begins when ears are exposed to noises louder than 85 decibels for prolonged periods of time. A pneumatic drill, for example, reaches 110 decibels, which means that millions of Brits are listening to their music at a level of almost 40% higher than is naturally safe.”
The study also found a quarter turn off their ‘volume limiter’ and one in twenty listen to music at its highest volume level.
Worryingly, nine in ten said they didn’t know what the safe level of sound was for their ears.
One in twenty said their music is often noisier than road works, or a car back-firing.
Four in ten of those who have been left with ringing ears said it started to hurt after just ten minutes.
It also emerged one in five listen to music full blast in the car – and one in twenty have been distracted by it blaring so loudly they have had a near miss.
One in three have also made themselves jump as they haven’t heard someone approach them and one in fourteen have had a close call crossing a road while out jogging.
The study found one in five listen to loud music because it ‘sounds better the louder it is’ and seven per cent said it’s the ‘only way to enjoy it’.
Another 14 per cent claim it drowns out outside noises, while three per cent said it blocks out their own singing.
Four in ten have gone out for the night and danced next to a loud speaker for their hearing to return to normal five hours after they wake up the next day.
43 per cent said they weren’t bothered that loud music might be damaging their hearing now or in the future.
And six in ten have never had a hearing test.